Planning ! I hate it.
It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are, things do not stick to the plans, and it doesn’t mean bad things.
Germany has many beautiful National Parks, with forests, mountains, lakes and trails.
April has been the chosen month. Spring, flowers, colorful trees and specially a better weather.
We just forgot one important issue, explained by a German saying : “April, April, der macht was er will”. Or in other words, April doesn’t give a shit that the Spring already started. Expect a sunny morning, followed by snow, rain, strong winds and a bit more of Sun, everything on the same day.
After Romania my sister came together to Berlin, with the idea of going to the Saxon Switzerland, a National Park at the surroundings of Dresden and Czech Republic, but not even close the the Swiss border. Even though the crazy weather has not allowed us to discover the rocks and forests, we decided to go to Dresden (the most destroyed city in Germany during the Second World War), and from there spontaneously choose a further destination.
We had to keep in mind our new philosophy of traveling: hitchhiking and couchsurfing.
For the first we don’t need much planning, but the second requires patience, luck, good writing skills and honesty.
By the first look Weimar seemed to be the place to go, and after a few requests sent, we got accepted by Charlotte, a German who spent some months in Brazil when younger, and loved classics from the Brazilian music, such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Perfect !
Now we just needed to get there.
Thanks to http://hitchwiki.org it is possible to get ideas of where to start our journey, and there we go, to the highway heading to the west.
The distance? Approximately 190 km directly.
The highway? A4, my first experience with a car in a German Autobahn.
The transportation? Whatever stopped for us.
As soon as we arrived by the road we got a good sign. A lot of stickers with the word “trampen”, which means hitchhiking in German, were around the traffic light posts. We were in the right place, although a roundabout was in front of us, and from there it would be possible to go to different directions. We wrote the name of our next city on a paper, which would help us out.
I know I said I hate planning, but a bit of it is necessary. We didn’t have a proper pen to write, so we used an eye pencil.
Improvisation 1×0 Planning.
15 minutes were necessary to attract our first ride. An old German man with a funny moustache in a BMW, by far the fanciest hitchhike of my short career.
He started telling us stories about how he used to do the same when he was our age. A bit of nostalgia and happiness with the new generation were spread in that car.
Unfortunately he was not going to Weimar, but just 60 km further. Anyway he dropped us at a gas station, with a smile at his face and a new magnet from my hometown Curitiba in his hands.
After that it was easy. The best way to get a ride is talking to people, and showing you are not dangerous. It is completely understandable that people do not stop for you on the road. The world is full of threats and bad people, but I am sure that they are just the minority. Said that, we started our approach.
In Germany the license plates have a letter for the country, and one or two for the city. This is an important information when hitchhiking.
With a better geography notion than me, Fernanda (my sister) saw a J in a plate, standing for Jena, located 20 km from Weimar. Lovely.
Jonas was the driver of the Mazda who would take us further. A 27 years old German who loved Limp Bizkit and similar bands, and was going to Weimar, just stopping quickly by a friend in Jena. He asked if it was a problem, getting a negative answer from us immediately. I found it suspicious since the beginning, but how am I to say something?
Close to his friend’s place I got it confirmed. He was there to get some weed and offered it to us. Nice guy, but no thanks for the moment. He rode with us to Charlotte and got a magnet as well. Spreading Curitiba to the world.
What to say about our host? She was wonderful, baked a cake and waited for us with some coffee. After it she showed the city to us and invited us for dinner. We could have wandered more around, but we could not refuse that invitation. Cooking with our host is better than any attraction. She even noticed that we liked trying different beers and brought some local ones, just found in that region. Awesomeness.
The next day I had to say bye to my sister, who would return by train to where she lives, in the Southwest of Germany. My was was back to Berlin, approximately 280 km North. What an opportunity to hitchhike.
A bus later and there I was by the road holding a sign written “A9”, the highway going to my destination. As I was at the “A4”, I would have to get a ride to their intersection. It was really windy and some drops of rain made me shake, but it was just time for taking my gloves and a car stopped by. A middle age man was waving to me and as soon I got to him, he said he spotted me, but was too fast and passed through. As he used to hitchhike from the same place some years ago, his conscious made him return. The God of Hitchhikers do not forget.
He dropped me at a gas station, already at the “Autobahn” I needed, and wished me luck. Sadly my souvenirs of Curitiba were over.
Time to approach people again.
Thanks to my long beard I was probably looking like a crazy beggar with a weird German accent and a smile on my face, concerning my possible drivers. An old man with a license plate starting with B, standing for Berlin, clearly found one excuse to get rid of me quickly.
A bit of disappointment came with a mixture of rain and snow, and I was moving to the pumps when a van stopped, and a big guy asked me where I was heading to. He would pass close to the German capital, on his way to Poznań, in Poland, where he hold some business. He made just one remark: he had to go fast as his wife was going to have a baby soon. No problem at all, and 180 km/h at the speedometer. Even that fast lots of BMWs, Audis and Mercedes made us seem like an old Beetle.
2 hours later I was on the metropolitan area of Berlin, where I could get public transportation home. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that his wife is from Venezuela, so instead of a poor German, or a terrible Polish (this language is the Devil of the languages, kurwa mać), we were able to speak Spanish, or Portuñol in my case.
Dziękuję at one side, gracias at the other, and here I am, safe, happy, with more stories to tell, and just 6 euros less in my wallet for the whole weekend.
Definitely I hate planning.
This entry was posted in Europe